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THINGS TO COME (1936) on Jan 1


Arkadin
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The New Year starts with a bang (literally!). TCM has never showed this SciFi classic to my knowlege. Perhaps the most ambitious film about the future since METROPOLIS (1927), THINGS TO COME is certainly it's equal in set design. Scriptwise there's no contest--TTC definitely surpasses Lang's classic in scope and vision, although Willam Menzies does not have his directorial flair.

 

The story was originally written by H.G. Wells (THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME) who also wrote the screenplay and had many controlling aspects over the film. Much of the story blends fears of the time (impending of WWII, poison gas, dictatorship) with futuristic ideas as traveling to the moon which would happen only 30 years later.

 

Wells anticipates many things of the future (including a desired peaceful colony in Iraq!) and rightly believes there are no plateaus. Mankind must continue to grow or die.

 

Hope you will enjoy this one. Don't forget to look for Raymond Massey. In his autobiography he claims working on this project was one of the most enjoyable films he made.

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Great Menzies art direction. Wells's script is preachy and moralistic but certainly thought-provoking. Ralph Richardson was the only actor who seemed to have any life in him! Cedric Hardwicke struck a lot of Shakespearean poses. I especially liked the 1940 London Christmas set, and the photo of the airplane in Massey's apartment. Cabal keeps talking about a new world order that struck me as rather fascistic. Yet wasn't Wells a socialist?

 

Definitely a must-see.

 

Message was edited by: Bronxgirl48

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girl from the Bronx; ~ H.G. Wells was indeed a socialist, and wrote many papers on the subject

 

I found the film to be confusing and kept looking for parallels to the way things really happened.

 

I found the costumes to be very amusing--the giant tube on Raymond Massey's collar and in the year 2036 men would show their bare legs. also the women's hair-do's, never progressed beyond

tight waves and curls.

 

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Thanks, violets. I guess H.G. was always looking for a rainbow....

 

I liked Margaretta Scott as Ralph's "wife" (or companion?) Her character had a lot of punch.

 

Massey coming out of the plane with that giant helmet was very creepy to me. Yes, the women's hair looked very 1930's, much like the ananchronistic 1960's flips during the 1920's flashbacks in HUSH, HUSH, SWEET CHARLOTTE.

 

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Correction to my earlier post. I reviewed the print on my DVR and it is an NTSC transfer, at 96 minutes, of the BFI restored print. Sensational except for one problem - they apparently did a slight separation (usually a third of a frame) of the audio between the left and right channel but it was then combined for mono playback - resulting in a slight "tank" effect on the soundtrack. Had they merely left it in its original mono it would have been perfect.

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This one was better as a childhood memory,for me. It's socialism was preachy. As beautifully designed and filmed as it was,REALITY IMMEDIATELY DATED IT.

That whole bit about masses preventing PROGRESS. "The Wandering Disease" was kinda cool.

With Sci-fi, theres always that risk of "missing badly". I think this was more a socio-political sermon disguised as a Sci-fi.

Again, I used to love catching this. I was actually a little disappointed the other night.

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  • 11 months later...

Despite its flaws, THINGS TO COME remains my favorite sci-fi movie. My reasons:

 

The acting. Raymond Massey! Ralph Richardson! Cedric Hardwicke!

 

The music, by Arthur Bliss, is so much better than what we usually get in s-f movies that it's in another dimension.

 

This film actually has something to say -- not surprising, with a screenplay by H. G. Wells.

 

The opening sequence is stunning, cutting back and forth between scenes of happy holiday shoppers and grim headlines warning of impending war.

 

When the war begins, we see a little boy marching back and forth,

with the shadows of real soldiers behind him -- one of many scenes that show the great visual imagination of William Cameron Menzies.

 

If the special effects are primitive by today's standards, they are effective for a film made in 1936.

 

The final scene, with Massey and Edward Chapman looking up at the stars after their daughter and son have embarked on the first moon shot, and Massey delivering his great final speech, always gives me goose bumps.

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I remember the first time I saw this film, after years of seeing an occasional photo and reading about it in the rather brief books on Scifi films back in the 70's. When I first saw it, I was disappointed. Could have been that really bad copy I saw. But after seeing it again a couple of times, I have actually come to appreciate it more to now where I actually really like it.

Sometimes you just have to step outside of the technical differences between films made so long ago and today and just go with it. We laugh at the clothing ideas in the film, but then we also laugh at what people REALLY wore in the 70's and 80's.

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  • 11 months later...
  • 1 month later...

Some friends who have seen this also comment on the Christmas scene early in the movie where the children are playing with toys beneath a Christmas tree and the 'grandfather' comments about technical abilities of toys his grandchildren are playing with and wonders what the toys of THEIR grandchildren would be like and what they would see.

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